Volunteers Serve Coastal Community Devastated by Flooding

October 1, 2018 • United States
Samaritan's Purse volunteers mud-out a home in Leland that sustained 30 inches of water.
Samaritan's Purse volunteers mud-out a home in Leland that sustained 30 inches of water.

A close-knit neighborhood near Wilmington, North Carolina, was hit hard by Hurricane Florence, but recovery has started.

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“That’s our whole neighborhood,” Steve Hubbard said as he scrolled through photos on his phone. The images show his street completely underwater in Leland, North Carolina.

While Steve and his wife Deborah and their grown daughter Amanda were in Florida with family—they had evacuated ahead of Hurricane Florence—their small community outside of Wilmington was making headlines.

Steve Hubbard surveys the work to be done

Steve Hubbard surveys the work to be done in his home.

Aerial shots on the news and social media showed nothing but rooftops on the Hubbard’s road in Leland. One family that didn’t evacuate was rescued by Coast Guard helicopter.

The Hubbards didn’t return from Florida until they thought it was safe, but when they were just 10 miles from Leland, they had to turn around due to road closures and spend the night in another town.

Although the family saw their home and neighborhood of 18 years on the news, and knew the damage would be bad, “there’s no way you can prepare for this,” Steve said, as Florence had dumped 30 inches of water into their home.

Steve was thankful to have Samaritan’s Purse volunteers help him deal with the mess. But it was still terribly hard for him to watch our volunteers take out possessions ruined by mold and place them on the curbside.

Volunteers clean dishes at the Hubbard's home.

Volunteers clean dishes at the Hubbard’s home.

“This is many, many years of memories,” he said, reflecting that the family had also been storing a number of items that belonged to his father and aunt before they passed away.

Steve cried when one of our volunteers presented him with a dry, undamaged clock pendulum they had carefully retrieved among the damaged belongings.

The pendulum was special to Steve because the clock had belonged to his father, who purchased it years ago at a flea market during a trip with his son.

In addition to removing waterlogged belongings, our volunteers also did a mud-out for the Hubbards and removed damaged walls, sheetrock, and flooring.

“It’s a blessing to have Samaritan’s Purse here helping out,” Steve said.

New to the Neighborhood

The Nelsons had only lived across the street from the Hubbards for three weeks before Hurricane Florence forced them to evacuate and destroyed nearly all their personal belongings. Teresa and her husband and son hadn’t even had time to unpack and most of their things were still in boxes.

Homes in Leland required a mud-out in order to remove damaged walls and flooring.

Homes in Leland required a mud-out in order to remove damaged walls and flooring.

“I had no idea what the house would look like. I don’t think we were able to save anything,” Teresa said.

She explained that the violent floodwaters had even tossed furniture into different rooms.

Teresa, who was once a children’s pastor and led her church in packing Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes, now works on an emergency management resource team at a local hospital.

She had worked three, 12-hour shifts at the hospital during Hurricane Florence and when she finally returned home, realized the floodwaters were rising and the window to evacuate would soon be closed.

“We put everything we could in the car and we drove out. Water was already up to the car door,” Teresa said.

She was very grateful for the Samaritan’s Purse volunteers who worked hard to mud-out their home. “It’s a lot of help—this is amazing,” Teresa said. “We’ve been very blessed.”

Despite their current challenges, Teresa and her family continue to stand firm in God’s strength and love.

“Our hope is in God. His hands are always here.”

“This is temporary; this is not our salvation. Our hope is in God,” Teresa said. “His hands are always here.”

A Family On Mission

Our committed volunteers both serve and bring comfort to homeowners at each worksite in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence—whether around New Bern, Jacksonville, or Wilmington.

Kathleen Esterly worked hard in Jesus' Name to serve hurting homeowners throughout Wilmington.

Kathleen Esterly worked hard in Jesus’ Name to serve hurting homeowners throughout Wilmington.

Kathleen Esterly loves God and enjoys serving Him with her family. About a month ago, when disaster struck close to their home in Washington state, Kathleen and her daughter Veronica volunteered with Samaritan’s Purse during our Carr fire response.

Moved with compassion, Kathleen traveled across the country and volunteered again in Wilmington, this time with both Veronica and her daughter Tyra.

“My heart’s desire is to take my family to serve and let them see Christianity. We want to put knowledge into action and to be hands-on with people who are hurting,” she said. “It’s exciting to see volunteers come from all over the nation.”

Kathleen and her daughters helped with mud-outs and debris clean up in Leland and throughout Wilmington. They enjoyed meeting volunteers from many areas. Most importantly, they shared Christ’s love with homeowners struggling to move forward in the storm’s devastating aftermath.

“We get to be used of the Lord as the need arises,” Kathleen said. “It’s a privilege and truly an honor.”

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Hurricane Florence Relief Florence's record-breaking rains have caused devastating flooding. Our staff and equipment have been deployed to the North Carolina coast; we've established relief bases in New Bern, Jacksonville, and Wilmington. Volunteer teams are helping affected homeowners by cutting downed trees, clearing debris, tarping roofs, and working on mud-outs. Please pray for residents as they recover from the storm and also for our volunteers as they serve in Jesus' Name.

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